One of my band directors in high school had a mantra he declared over and over again during rehearsals – “I can’t fix suck.”
Fortunately for the Jaguars, that’s exactly what preseason football is for – to fix suck.
“HEY! You CAN fix suck.”
After providing the fans some euphoric moments in the first two preseason games, the Ravens brought the Jaguars first team offense and defense back down to earth.
While most pundits will point to Blaine Gabbert’s less than stellar stat line, all three phases of the game exhibited some good and some bad.
Blaine Gabbert’s torrid pace in the preseason didn’t continue against the Ravens, but he certainly wasn’t “bad.” While statistically underwhelming (11 for 21, 117 yards, one sack with 0 TDs and 0 INTs), Blaine continued to play mistake free, intelligent football. My concern from this game offensively lies with Laurent Robinson.
Laurent had a few chances to make catches and didn’t pull through.
While no one expected him to light the world on fire, he’s had some chances to make catches for Blaine in key situations and he hasn’t delivered. Specifically, Gabbert made a nice throw in a tight window to Robinson that he dropped. The throw was a tad behind RonRob, but he certainly could have pulled it in. He finished another game without a reception despite a handful of targets. It’s obviously still very early, but it would be nice to see him get into a rhythm early in the regular season.
Another minor concern for me was how often Gabbert went to Blackmon. It’s clear Gabbert has a lot of trust in Blackmon, but he targeted Blackmon 8 times in 21 attempts. While not alarming, it shows that some other players need to get open and provide Gabbert with opportunities to spread the ball around.
Rashad Jennings continued his consistent play in the preseason, and with Maurice Jones-Drew hopefully returning soon, the Jaguars are ready to field a highly effective rushing attack.
The final score would indicate that Jaguars were absolutely torched by the Ravens offense, but that would only be partially correct. Early on, the Jags’ defense showed some promise. Terrance Knighton had a sack on a key third down in the red zone to force a field goal; Andre Branch had a forced fumble late in the first half; the Jaguars got good pressure early on, but Flacco was just getting the ball out very quickly.
Torrey Smith had lots of reasons to smile last night.
That’s where the critique begins – in the secondary. Without Derek Cox and a limited Rashean Mathis, the Jaguars secondary was shredded by a new look Ravens offense. Flacco made several quick throws underneath and seemed to always have an open receiver available, specifically Torrey Smith. The defense was undermanned without Daryl Smith and Cox, but some concerns about depth, especially at corner, are warranted. William Middleton and Aaron Ross were consistently victimized by the Raven’s receivers.
Bryan Anger continued to display his monster leg, but the punt coverage didn’t do their part. The Jaguars missed out on downing a punt inside the 5 yard line and Jacoby Jones had a few lengthy returns throughout the first half. Josh Scobee missed an easy field goal because a Ravens defender got his hand on the ball. Mike Thomas and Jalen Parmele provided the Jaguars with good field position on kickoff returns, but outside of that the special teams didn’t impress.
Again, it’s only preseason and the Jaguars struggled against a team that was one dropped touchdown away from the Super Bowl last year. This game shows that Jags still have plenty of work to do, which is to be expected. Fans need to remember that this is still a completely new offense with new weapons and there’s going to be some growing pains. But just remember, you CAN fix suck. Sometimes.